University of Hawai’i Value-Added Product Development Center Holds Groundbreaking
The University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges held a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, June 23 to mark the beginning of construction on the Wahiawā Value-Added Product Development Center.
The facility will house training programs that will provide participants an opportunity to create new and unique food-related products while learning critical entrepreneurship skills such as marketing, branding, product development and business management so they can develop their value-added products.
Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz (District 22 – Launani Valley, Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village and portion of Poamoho) helped secure monies for the project in 2017.
“Products that are made-in-Hawai‘i are highly desired worldwide and we have a huge opportunity with the WVAPDC to capitalize on that global demand. Value-added entrepreneurship is critical for economic recovery as we look to strengthen the agricultural industry and diversify our economy to be less reliant on tourism,” said Senator Dela Cruz. “Wahiawā welcomes this community investment and looks forward to working with the University of Hawai‘i in the years to come.”
Participants will have access to state-of-the-art equipment that will help take their idea to a marketable product. Developable products include but are not limited to baked goods, pickled products, ice creams, and juices. These products could benefit farmers as entrepreneurs utilize off-grade produce in their recipes and minimize food waste. Farmers can build their customer base outside of traditional outlets such as farmers markets and grocery stores and sell directly to food manufacturers or expand their businesses.
“The WVAPDC will be instrumental in supporting the diversification of our local economy by adding value to Hawai‘i’s agricultural and food sector industries,” said University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges Vice President Erika Lacro. “It will take the knowledge, creativity, innovation, and uniqueness Hawai‘i offers to the next level, creating a robust workforce pipeline and providing the tools and skills for local farmers and entrepreneurs to take their value-added food products to market and beyond. Bringing this to the heart of Oahu achieves a critical milestone for our state in food security and sustainability.”
The Wahiawa Value Added Product Development Center is scheduled to open for classes in Spring 2023.